Indians in Qatar for residency


What is it? The estimated number of Indians, the largest community, living in Qatar.

Why is it important? Some of them will benefit from a draft law passed by the Qatar cabinet that would grant permanent residency to foreigners. This is the first such action among Gulf Arab Monarchies, which are strict about guarding their nationals’ privileges and curbing expatriates’ access to public services and property rights, though they have depended on their labour for decades to run their economies.

Tell me more: Foreigners can receive permanent resident status if they get married to a Qatari, have “performed great services to the state” or “have special competencies”. The expatriates would get the same privileges as Qataris in terms of education and healthcare and will have the right to own real estate as per the country’s laws and run certain commercial activities without a local partner.



What is it? The number of international offices Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider, operates currently.

Why is it important? Earlier, the law firm had 45 international offices and it has had to shut down most of its operations in foreign countries due to a slump in its business. This follows the revelation of 11.5 million files from its database that showed records of wealthy people had used offshore companies to stash their assets in April 2016 — the biggest leak in history. In the same year, at least 150 inquiries or investigations were launched in around 70 countries to probe the possibilities of money laundering or tax evasion. After the leak, the firm has denied any wrongdoing.

Tell me more: The Panama Papers included some big names such as former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Hong Kong’s film star Jackie Chan, a $2 billion-trail leading to Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff and Argentina’s football player Lionel Messi.



What is it? The increase in the share prices of Cognizant in the last seven months or so, since Elliott Management Corp, an activist investment firm, that advised the company to focus on sustainable shareholder returns.

Why is it important? The IT firm, which said in February that it would cooperate with Elliott Management, seems to be showing signs of having benefitted Cognizant’s shareholders. The increase in share prices of Cognizant during the last seven months or so is much higher than the 8% return that its competitors such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys have managed in the same period.

Tell me more: Cognizant’s revenues increased by 8.9% year-on-year in the June quarter compared to 5.2% and 6% growth rates clocked by TCS and Infosys respectively in the same period.



What is it? The percentage of schools with electricity in the country.

Why is it important? Over one-third of India’s schools go without electricity, according to Unified District Information System for Education (2015-16). Populous states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and most of the northeastern states fare lower than the national average of electrified schools, as revealed by a Rajya Sabha reply.

Tell me more: The Ministry of Human Resource Development claims 187,248 elementary schools and 12,930 secondary schools have internal electrification as of March, 2017, under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan programmes.



What is it? The number of families who would need to be rehabilitated once the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam gates are finally closed.

Why is it important? Over two decades have passed and the families are still waiting to be properly resettled after their homes were flooded when the dam was built. The Gujarat government was allowed to shut the gates of the dam in June this year by the Centre.

Tell me more: Activist Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan is on a fast, for eight days now, to demand rehabilitation. Development projects have displaced no less than 21.3 million people in India in over 50 years till 2007, with dams accounting for 16.4 million of them.

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Pre-trump trouble


What is it? The drop in approved new petitions of India-based companies for HIB visas in 2016.

Why is it important? The number represents a drop of 37% at 9,356 new petitions for the top seven India-based companies seeking approval in fiscal 2016, says a report by National Foundation for American Policy. It’s an indicator that the opportunities for Indian technology workers in the US started narrowing even before Trump administration took charge. The companies affected in 2016 include TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro.

Tell me more: Indian companies have been accused of flooding the visa lottery system earlier.


Rs 11,000 crore

What is it? The amount State Bank of India (SBI) is looking to raise in a share sale to qualified institutional investors (or a private placement).

Why is it important? The move to raise its capital base could bring in 73% of the equity capital (Rs 15,000 crore) that was approved to be raised in FY18 at SBI’s central board meeting in March. Meeting with Basel III norms and provisioning for bad loans have necessitated raising of fresh capital by Indian banks.

Tell me more: SBI had last sold shares in 2014.


Rs 100 crore

What is it? The cost of redeveloping a railway station in Bhopal, Habibganj, by Bansal Group. The work will commence on June 9.

Why is it important? This is the first redevelopment of an Indian Railways (IR) station through a public-private partnership. The project marks a major step to modernise and privatise IR. Not only upgrading passenger facilities at stations, this would boost IR’s non-fare revenues, for example, through land monetisation. The Bansal Group will invest Rs 350 crore for commercial development of land parcels around the station, on a 45-year lease, according to an agreement in 2016.

Tell me more: The Bhopal-based Bansal Group will be operating and maintaining the station for a period of eight years.



What is it? The number of countries which have cut ties with Qatar, the West Asian country, accusing it of supporting Islamist terrorism. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were the first to cut diplomatic and transport ties, followed by Yemen, Libya and Maldives.

Why is it important? The geopolitical rift among the Arab neighbours would have ripple effects on the globe, including oil prices, which dropped 1%. While both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been accused earlier of funding Islamists and terrorists, Qatar has drawn the ire of others due to its supposed support of Iran. The boycott is being seen as a move to target Iran as well.

Tell me more: Qatar will bear the brunt of the ban as transport links with neighbours have been severed and will make food imports (40% of the nation’s supplies) and travel out of the country dearer. The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has raised his concerns for the650,000-strong Indian population in Qatar, by writing to the Centre.



What is it? The number of students whose admissions got rescinded at Harvard for posting obscene memes in a private Facebook group chat.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of the worrying trend of social media being used to spread content which is obscene, hateful, abusive and even illegal; and how organisations are trying to tackle it. Last year, prospective students at Harvard who posted similar messages were let go with a strongly worded, but generic statement..

Tell me more: Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been making some attempts to clean up such content, but it has proven to be a difficult task. It might also be hurting these firms. Salesforce might have walked away from a Twitter acquisition deal last year because of Twitter’s inability to tackle abusive content.

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News in Numbers, June 6, 2016: 29 killed in Mathura violence, India & Qatar sign 7 deals…


What is it? The number of people who have died in the Mathura clashes so far.

Why is it important? Violence erupted in Mathura on Thursday when the police tried to evict encroachers belonging to a religious group called Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi from government land (Jawahar Bagh). This may become one of the key issues in Uttar Pradesh, which faces elections next year.

Tell me more: Over 3,000 people of the cult attacked around a thousand policemen with swords, guns, knives and grenades when they went on the eviction drive. The leader of the cult group, who ran a private army and had eight cases (including murder and land-grabbing) cases against him, died in the clash.



What is it? Number of bilateral agreements signed by India and Qatar on Sunday.

Why is it important? The agreements cover tourism, health, skill development, youth and sports, and investment in India’s Rs 40,000-crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. India has also expressed interest in joint exploration of new oil and gas fields and development of discovered assets in Qatar, which is the largest supplier of LNG (liquefied natural gas) and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to the country.

Tell me more: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a five-nation tour and he is currently in Switzerland where he is likely to seek support for India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and also, raise the issue of black money.


Rs 15,800 crore

What is it? The minimum amount India would need to spend on family planning services by 2020, according to a study.

Why is it important? This is necessary if India wants to keep up its 2012 global commitment of covering 48 million new users of family planning services such as access to contraceptive methods and reproductive healthcare by 2020 while sustaining the existing 100 million users. A delay may result in high maternal and infant mortality and morbidity and poor child health due to poorly-spaced pregnancies, the study says.

Tell me more: Family planning budget allocation has decreased by 54% between 2013-14 and 2015-16 though that under the National Health Mission increased by 47% but still fell short of the required amount, as per the study by the International Institute of Health Management Research, Jaipur – commissioned by the Population Foundation of India.



What is it? Number of bulk drugs and medical devices parks Indian government is considering setting up under the public-private partnership mode. There will be three of each.

Why is it important? India is heavily reliant on imports for bulk drugs or active pharmaceutical ingredients (80%) and medical devices (65%). The setting up of such parks would help bring down the costs of production of devices and drugs by a minimum of 30% in the long-term, according to the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Tell me more: The government is considering to provide a one-time financial support for these bulk drug parks. The six bulk drug and medical devices parks would require an investment of around Rs 60,000 crore.



What is it? Percentage of voters in Switzerland who opposed a plan to give a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,555) for adults per month whether they work or not, according to projections by GFS polling outfit for Swiss broadcaster SRF.

Why is it important? Switzerland is the first country to vote on such a proposal. As technology increasingly replaces jobs, other countries including Finland are considering a similar proposal. Those who supported the proposal argued that productivity would be better if one is not obliged to work to earn money and unpaid work would be more valued. Those against (including the government) cited high costs, decrease in inclination to work and likely large-scale immigration as the reasons.

Tell me more: The government had estimated that this proposal would cost 208 billion Swiss francs and most of the current social security programmes would have made up for this though it would have had to resort to spending cuts and tax increases to make up for a gap of 25 billion Swiss francs.

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News in numbers, Nov 24, 2015: Bupa increasing stake in Max Bupa, Qatar’s penalty waiver…

Rs 191 crore

What is it? Amount paid by UK-based Bupa Plc. to raise its stake in Max Bupa Health Insurance Co Ltd, India’s seventh largest health insurance firm, from 26% to 49%.

Why is it important? This is the first deal after the government increased foreign direct investment limit to 49% in domestic insurance firms earlier this year.  Indian partner, Max India, will hold 51% and also management control.

Tell me more: Max India, which sold 23% stake for an all-cash deal, will use the money to buy majority stake in Delhi-based hospital, Saket City Hospitals Pvt. Ltd.

Rs 15,000 crore

What is it? Gammon India’s debt that has been converted into equity by its lenders.

Why is it important? Creditors will now hold majority stake in Gammon India.  The exercise is part of a new strategy – called, strategic debt restructuring – to manage bad loans where debt is converted into equity. In the second step, a new investor and management is brought in to manage the company.  

Tell me more: Gammon India is the sixth company where lenders have acquired majority stake by converting debt into equity.    

$ 1 billion

What is it? Penalty waived off by Qatar after Petronet LNG, India’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas, reneged on its 25-year contract with the gulf nation. As a part of the deal, benchmark price was also revised. It will now be based on three-month average of Brent crude as compared to 60-month average of Japanese crude oil price.

Why is it important? Downward revision of prices will lower cost of LNG to $7-8 per million British thermal unit as against current price of $ 12-13. If passed on, customers will benefit from lower cooking and fuel gas prices.   

Tell me more: Slump in global gas prices – almost 50% in last one year – prompted buyers to prefer spot markets where cost was lower.

22 million

What is it? The number of women with only one child who is a girl, according to the latest census data.

Why is it important? It’s significantly lower than the number of women with single child, who is a boy, which is, 28.5 million. Confirms the continuity of prevalence of male child preference and prenatal sex determination. The gap – 6.5 million – represents the missing girl child.

Tell me more: The skewed sex ratio continues for women who had two and three children.  


What is it? LME (London Metal Exchange) Metal Index, which consists of six primary metals including copper, aluminium, lead, tin, zinc and nickel.

Why is it important? It’s 6-year low for the index and comes on the back of weak economic data from China. Raw material intensive sectors like auto and auto components, and power equipment would benefit from lower metal prices, while metal producers will be hit.

Tell me more: Operating profit margins of 142 manufacturing firms rose to the highest level since June 2014 because of decline in commodity prices.


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